A Passion for God… Am I Obsessive About the Right Things?
1 Apr 2009
It’s funny how a passing comment can spin us into deeper thought. My sister jokingly called me obsessive because I was keeping my receipts, trying to keep tabs on my accounts. And it got me thinking, what am I obsessive about?
Am I obsessive about the right things?
At the moment I’ve discovered a game on my mum’s mobile phone. It’s fun – and long, taking ages to finish one game. My parents laugh and say that I’m addicted. A harmless fad or a banal time-waster?
And then there is the TV show LOST. Some could say I’m obsessive about it. I know a few others who are in the same boat (you know who you are!), trying not to miss it each week. It’s enthralling, suspenseful, or at least was in the first couple of series.
In his poem, The Vision, Pete Greig of 24-7 Prayer and Red Moon Rising, explains that “The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.” I love Him – yes. I want to be His – absolutely. But am I obsessive about Jesus? Compulsive about Christ?
I think that’s why it took me so long to come to appreciate – even like – the apostle Paul. In an age where tolerance is the order of the day, Paul’s language seems so extreme. He was always waving his hands around, calling attention to this or that, wanting reform or radical change. All too often I don’t understand the depth of Paul’s love for the cross, the depth of his love for Christ’s life and saving work. Perhaps I resented Paul’s extreme words because they know more of Jesus than I do. He is willing to follow Jesus so completely, without distraction. I desire to live such a life, but Paul has actually done it. His words are not arrogant, they are genuine, reflecting a life so single-mindedly focused on Christ that he seems too radical.
“The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.”
Paul is bold in his letter to the Galatians, but part of the beauty of this epistle is that it gets down to the basic nature of the gospel. We get a clear picture of Paul’s zeal, his pure dedication to the cross, to a Jesus who can bring radical redemption and renewal through the grace of forgiveness. Paul speaks boldly – not because he is obnoxious, but because he cannot contain himself. He will not lose focus and he won’t let the Galatians lose focus either. In our day and age Paul is not politically correct. He lacks tolerance in the best way possible. In fact, we could say, he lives a Soli Deo life.
Soli Deo, as Passion for God
We have talked about Soli Deo for some time now within the Pioneers community. It all began when John Fletcher, our International Director, asked John, one of our Regional Leaders, what we could do to ensure that the core value of ‘Passion for God’ remained central to all that we are and do. And so Soli Deo emerged.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Jeremiah 6:16).”
Describing passion for God, John says, “it’s not just words on paper. It is the essence of what we are about. It’s the foundation that determines all that we do. That’s what ‘Passion for God’ is. That’s what we are giving our life for.”
His eyes ablaze, his heart and mind obsessively overflowing with the vision that is undeniably Jesus, he continues, “‘there is no greater priority. There is no more compelling reason for the existence of our mission. We have been created to know Him, and in the knowing to worship. The way of the ‘ancient paths’, is a way that beckons us to a passionate, authentic, lifelong pursuit of our heavenly Master. It is the Spirit’s wooing us into a deeper intimacy with the Lover of our souls both individually and corporately. Quite simply, we exist in order that we may know and be known by our Lord and Savior, with the awesome privilege of helping others along that same ancient path.
Prayer and worship is, therefore, the very lifeblood of our mission. We are desperate for Him. We are desperate for His daily presence to infuse meaning and ‘life’ into all of our ministries and relationships. We are desperate for His supernatural guidance in our mobilisation and church planting strategies. We are desperate for Him to empower us to ‘be’ the emissaries of the Gospel that He desires, and to live in the power of His Spirit even in the midst of impossible circumstances. He alone can draw us together as a global family in unity and grace to become His people in our generation. Our great calling is to live lives fully surrendered to Him, so that all the nations may know that He alone is God, and join with us in life-transforming worship of the King of Kings! Because that is so, we consider prayer and worship to be our greatest priority.”
That is what a Soli Deo life is – a life given over to God and God Alone, where we seek to come before God, listening to Him so that we can gain His perspective, allowing Him to lead us, joining Him in what He is already doing, so that His glory can be known amongst the nations.
As Soli Deo people, we seek to cooperate with the Spirit of God to stimulate a passion for His glory alone that is expressed by a life saturated in the biblical ancient paths of worship and prayer. Or as one of our workers put it, “In God’s economy, in God’s scale, it’s not what we do for Him, but it’s knowing Him and loving Him. And from that He causes us to do things that we never thought were possible.”
Sound obsessive? Oh, it is! Because the call, the invitation of Soli Deo is about JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus. Or to use John’s words again, it “beckons us to a passionate, authentic, lifelong pursuit” of this Jesus we are so desperate to know and have known through us. After all, as another worker puts it, “If we’re not living recklessly abandoned to Him, then what are we doing?”
As we look to the year that lies before us, and we think of lives that are lived obsessively, dangerously, undeniably about Jesus, I wonder, is there something more that we need to do, be? Is there something less? Are we obsessive in the most wholesome and holy of ways? Do we want to be like Paul, who was caught up in pure dedication to the cross, who lived and spoke boldly, who couldn’t contain himself?
A passion for God, lived out for His glory alone. SOLI DEO GLORIA!
by KP – Pioneers team member in South Asia